Breastfeeding is a moment of bonding for both mother and child, and as much as it’s painful at moments, for most mothers it’s still a happy experience. Months go by, your baby slowly starts consuming other food and it’s time for you to stop breastfeeding.
That’s when the inevitable question arises, are your breast going to stay saggy after breastfeeding? What’s the real cause behind it? Are your age, weight, diet, exercise or genetics bigger contributing factors to the sagging than the breastfeeding itself?
Sagging Breasts And The Breastfeeding Theory
Breastfeeding has been linked to sagging breasts for generations of moms and moms to be but the truth is that breastfeeding on its own can’t cause your breasts to give in to gravity. Other factors which happen simultaneously are to blame, but somehow we were led to believe that’s the root cause. Our body undergoes many changes during pregnancy and in the post pregnancy period and all of these combined lead to the common problem.
According to a study presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Baltimore Conference in 2007 there isn’t a difference in breast firmness or sagging between women who breastfed versus those who used formula.
Another more recent study revealed that not only does breastfeeding not cause your breasts to sag, it might even improve the skin quality on your breasts. Researchers have also studied pairs of twins to see what factors impacted breast skin, size, fullness, and even sagging.
They found that those were breastfeeding their newborn had a less attractive shape and size of the areola, but the skin on the breast was of better quality. They also concluded that this happened because breastfeeding triggered an internal hormone replacement effect of sorts which benefited the body.
Pregnancy Versus Breastfeeding: Which Is The Culprit?
During pregnancy your breasts become larger and the milk flow causes the underlying tissue as well as the skin on the breast to stretch. After you stop breastfeeding the milk glands become empty and shrink to their previous size. In return, your breasts can look a bit stretched as a result. Moreover, as you gain weight during pregnancy and your breasts increase in size, it may lead to stretched ligaments around the breasts and sagging of the skin.
Factors that influence some women’s breasts to sag while others’ not so much include the number of times you’ve been pregnant, the size of your breasts before the pregnancy, your age, your body mass index (BMI), and if you’re a smoker or not.
Breastfeeding: Doing More Good Than Harm
Breastfeeding is not only good for the baby; it’s good for the mother as well. According to a study, breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer in the pre-menopausal stage. Women who’d breastfed also showed a lowered risk of developing osteoporosis and hip fracture after menopause.
Prevent Sagging Breasts
The changes that happen to your body during pregnancy and in the post-pregnancy period cannot be avoided but there are some things you can do to reduce the sagging and maybe even eliminate it altogether.
Wearing supportive undergarments which fit you right in all the stages of your transformation can do wonders for your breasts. If you’re not sure about the size and shape, you should consult a lingerie specialist and get fitted to a new size.
It’s normal to put on weight during your pregnancy but you shouldn’t go over 25 to 30 pounds. This will prevent your breasts from becoming too big and lead to sagging later.
You should keep the skin on your breasts moisturized at all times. According to the Twins Study this played a major role in keeping breasts looking firm. The moisturizer keeps your skin elastic and prevents sagging.
Exercise to help breasts and the muscle in the surrounding area regain their strength and suppleness.
Smoking is not a good idea, not just for your overall health but when it comes to breasts sagging prevention. It causes the elastic needed to keep the breasts from sagging to break down.
There you have it, there’s no reason for you to avoid breastfeeding, and quite on the contrary it’s extremely beneficial for both your baby and you. It provides your baby with all the needed nutrients and keeps your skin looking healthier. The myth has been busted; breastfeeding is in no way a contributor to breasts sagging!